Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about board games. We’re gonna look at whether or not they’re boring in our opinion, are board games boring. It rhymes or something. What popular ones we’ve played, or what games we’ve played in general and we’ll describe them if needs be.
What are our favorites board games and who do we play with, when do we play. Maybe we have a habit or we’ve had a habit with it. Do we get competitive, there could be a bit of falling out with board games with some people. What are the benefits.
I think there are some compared to other activities we could do. Should they be in some public places like libraries, prisons, airports and other things like that, other places. What are the hardest board games? Some of them may be not as good as others.
And some tips we might have, the future for board games. What we might recommend for young people, so lots of thoughts and ideas about board games. And I think they’re popular enough in Russia actually.
I’d feel like there are a few good shops in Novosibirsk and young people have an interest in them, at least people I’ve talked to. But in your opinion, in our opinion, are board games boring?
As for me, no, I think board games can be very interesting, I think you’re right. And in Russia a lot of children do seem like to play board games. There are a lot of interesting ones available, many are the same as in English.
And colors, you can learn from them even learn another language I guess. I think, I think it’s boring if you pick the wrong board game. I mean, if you pick one that isn’t of your interest for whatever reason it could boring.
But I mean, if you get a good board game or tabletop game, if you wanna be more general, you’re gonna enjoy it. I think most people will enjoy a good one. And with a good company as well.
I think the thing is that they can be boring if the rules are too difficult, like in a lot of games, because you have to spend a lot of time learning the rules.
It may be more about thinking than actually the entertainment factor of it. So what popular board games have you played?
When I was a boy I used to be very keen on Monopoly. I know it’s popular in Russia as well.
Monopoly. Scrabble I suppose you could say is a boardgame.
There was a game similar to Monopoly called Totopoly, which was not the hotels. It was a horse race, you bought the horses.
And where did the name come from?
I don’t know, it was called that. But I went to talking about card games.
I know it’s strictly a board game, but let’s do that.
Yeah, let’s include that, it’s s table top anyway.
Skittles, table skittles.
I usually just eat them. That’s different. Bowling on the table.
That’s right. I haven’t done that.
You put a coin in the middle of the table, and everybody… The coin is a penny which is twice the size the half-penny, old half-penny. And everybody has a half-penny and you put it half on the table, you hit it with your hand and you have to knock the penny off the table.
Right. I remember the kids in school played something similar, but I don’t think we had halfpennies. Halfpenny. We didn’t’ have them, but we did… I think it was pennies we used and we kind of tried to get them as close as we could to wall or something.
So it might to have to bounce off the wall and come back and you kind of… You might’ve lost if you bounced too much. I think I never really bothered, but I watched them. I was a spectator for that game. It’s a bit like bowling actually in some ways, isn’t it? Or bowls.
Yes, I suppose so, yes. Because the most popular one, it’s not so popular now in England, but I think it’s still popular here is dominoes.
Yeah, I think it’s popular enough. You can definitely get them anyway.
Of course them most popular one in Russia I suppose is chess.
Very strongly played. It’s international game really.
I’ve played a wee bit of chess in my time. I would definitely not say I’m an expert, but I know enough of the rules, but not the strategy. I’ve played a bit of Monopoly too. Risk – have you heard of that? Something called Risk which is a board game.
You have a kind of a map of the world, but it’s not quite the same as the normal map. It’s very generalized map, and it’s divided up into certain areas, very broad areas. And you’ve got some.. I think it’s some soldiers you’ve got, and you’ve got dice.
And you basically have to compete to take over the world. And it’s quite fun actually. And you have to be… It’s a strategy game, so you have to think carefully of your strategy. And there’s a chance to it as well, so the strategy but also a bit of chance. So it can be quite entertaining and you can be surprised by who wins in the end, so could be fun if you’ve got a few people.
Never heard of it? I use Jenga as a teacher, I’ve used Jenga. I have kind of Jenga blocks. It’s a poor managed Jenga I suppose. It’s got numbers written on it, and it’s little wooden blocks, a bit like dominoes, but the version I have has numbers.
And I’ve linked them to questions and you can pull it out, you know, and ask questions and things. But Jenga’s fun, I think it’s got that. You have to pull out from the bottom and then put it on the top.
Oh yes, I know it. Build the tower. I’ve played it, it’s very good.
And people can get quite nervous if it’s gonna fall. And I myself get nervous, you know, when I think it’s gonna fall or something. Cluedo? It’s like a detective one, isn’t it?
Yes. Like murder in a library, Mr Green.
Mr Green in a library with a candlestick.
It’s quite as simple. You can play it with cards but you don’t even need cards, you can just… As long as someone knows the rules, you can just write it on paper I think. It’s good fun.
You turn the lights off and who’s mafia? Who’s the doctor? Who’s gonna help and sort. Snakes and ladders? I played that a bit when I was a boy and it’s good fun. I think Risk is better, and maybe Jenga’s more tension involved. But Snakes and Ladders is good fun too. Guess who? Do you ever hear of that?
So you’ve got… I think it’s for two players if I’m right. Maybe you can have teams of two people you know, you can make four more. But there are two sides, like two little kind of frames and in each frame there are faces, like profiles, cartoons. And you…
Each person is given a character, given a card to tell who they are, and this Mister Squiggle or whatever, I’ve got ginger hair and glasses or whatever. So the other person. Forgive me, I don’t know all the details, but the other person starts asking questions.
It’s a bit like some other things you might’ve played, but the other person starts asking questions like do you have glasses. And then they can put down, if they know you don’t have glasses, they can put down people who do have glasses.
So by process of elimination they can figure out who you are. Well, they quicker they do it the better and that sort of things. It’s kind of like a detective thing too, but easier than Cluedo.
Yes, I just thought of another popular one. I think Americans play it very much. We call it Draughts, the Americans call it Checkers.
Checkers, right. It’s a bit like chess, and then you have the checkered board, black and white.
But these are equal, you move them in diagonal ways.
I think everybody knows about it.
More simple. It’s more simple, the checkers. Checkers or drafts, that’s right. And Ludo.
Different colors, aren’t there. Red, blue.
Yes. Blue, yes. That’s not lotto is it?
No, it’s different. I actually don’t remember, but I know I’ve played Ludo, but don’t ask me.
I have, but I can’t remember it now.
And then when I was a boy, there used to be a tv program or something, or a tv advertisement for a thing called operation.
And there’s this patient, medical patient on a little framework again ,and you’re supposed to take out… You’ve got little instruments and tools and you’re supposed to be a doctor. And you take out the bone or the heart and stuff, and you’re not supposed to touch the sides.
And if you do, it buzzes or something. I never played it, but I always sort of thought I’d like that. And my parents always knew that was a waste of money, they never bothered buying it.
Similar when they used to make, you put two planks of wood and an electric wire, and it’s twisted, thick wire And you have to sort of have a needle type of thing, and you had to move without touching the wire.
Almost like a pen, but there’s a hoop.
That’s right, and if you touch the side it beeps.
I absolutely… Played with something like that, that’s right. So what are your favorite?
My favorite I think still is Monopoly. I enjoy playing Monopoly. That one with the tower you mentioned, I don’t remember the name.
I played it with children quite a lot, I think they like.
I think it is good fun personally.
Especially if you’ve got a good group of people it’s good fun, you start to get tension. I like Risk, I know you don’t know what it is. And Mafia too. It’s a bit of drama maybe in that. Oh, Cluedo.
I think it’s good. Cause you’ve got this sort of a bit of thinking to do. When you do Cluedo it’s not strategy, but you’ve got a bit of thinking to do and a detective work. I think that’s fun.
And if we’re speaking of card games and including card games, I mean there’s the fool, Durak, is very popular, isn’t it?
What’s that? I’ve heard of it.
You have to put… I can’t remember the rules. Everybody who’s listening to this podcast will know it exactly. It’s very popular, children’s game.
Do you use ordinary cards?
Yes, ordinary cards. And after following them on a certain way. It’s quite complicated rules actually.
I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never ever played it. So, we’re gonna talk more about our experiences with board games. Who do you or who have you played with? And when?
I played so many games, I haven’t played so many games recently exactly, as part of lessons. So I suppose I play them with groups of children. But when I was a boy, we used to play quite a lot at home. My mother loved cards, Newmarket, Sixes and Sevens, all sorts. I can’t remember the rules now. And lotto.. Not lotto…
Ludo I think. And monopoly of course I used to like.
And did you play with many people?
Yes, it was… Monopoly is better if you, but that can cause quite a lot of friction, that game.
Some people want to steal the fake money. I think in our house, I don’t think it was intentional, but in our house the fake money went missing and it was just for fun, you know. Little boys. So I think it went missing and we had to try draw our own or something.
It was just let’s pretend we have money or something. Well, I’ve played with students more recently, but before that only a few years ago I played Risk quite a bit. Friends of mine just took the notion, the idea, hey, we should play some board games. And we started to play Risk.
And I really enjoyed it I must say. It was just two other guys most of the time, but we sometimes were joined with others. We used to do that late in the evening. Suited my friends most of all, but it was good fun anyway and we played risk. It was…
We usually did it at his house, at his own flat. And I’d go over to his house, we’d drink a cup of tea or coffee or juice or whatever. And we played this board game, very subdued… I mean, not partying or going out to clubs, just playing board games, but we enjoyed it.
And it was good fun for us and the tension. Of course we did want to win, but yeah. It was good fun. And I have good memories of that. I think as well at Christmas time.
It’s popular, speaking about the UK anyway. A Christmas time, you have the family at home, you’ve usually a week off. Maybe even a little bit more. And people tend to gather around maybe play a board game, you can play it with all ages.
I think it’s good fun for a family. It’s better than just watching TV all day. Well, we’ll talk a little bit about advantages in a minute.
Bingo was another one that we used to play at Christmas.
That was very very interesting. I remember I had one particular friend who used to come a lot and we used to play together Monopoly, just the two of us.
So you two were hardcore Monopoly…
Do not pass code, do not collect 200 pounds or you’ll go straight to jail, is it?
Go directly to jail, do not pass code, do not collect 200 pounds. It was always nice getting the 200 pounds. When you land on that square.
We used to try to change the rules and make it 2000 pounds or something like that.
You really are a hardcore monopoly…
Make some extra money of higher denomination.
I’m gonna look at you in different light after this podcast, well. So do you get competitive when you play?
I don’t, but I know a lot of people do, especially my father was very competitive when he played and sometimes it upset the board if he wasn’t winning.
Knock it over. I think I probably try not to be too competitive. I think it just depends who I’m with. But yeah, I can be very annoyed if I think I’m gonna win and I lose. Especially if earlier on you’re thinking oh, it’s looking good here.
So I think yeah, generally I’m not a competitive person, but I think it’s hard not to be when you’re playing a board game. I just try not to be aggressive about it, I mean. But yeah, I can be. I think anyone can get a little bit competitive. And are games dangerous?
I can think of some games that might be dangerous, but I think on the whole games are very useful, especially for children, they use them to concentrate and to work together on that. And cooperation.
But there are some dangerous games that like Ouija board which can be quite, some people would say dangerous. My mother tried that once and had a bad experience with it, we’d better not say about it, or everybody with…
I’ve never played and I don’t want to.
Stories about it, yeah. Well I was thinking more about violence in board games. Have you ever played the card game Uno? Have you ever played it?
It’s a bit something you might know, Snap.
When you have the same card and it’s usually colored cards with animals maybe and stuff. And if you have the same card and you turn it over, you have to say Snap and slap your hand down, right?
And Uno is pretty much the same, but because you have to slam your hand, well, you don’t have to slam your hand down on the cards, but it tends to happen, because you’re trying to do that quickly. The quickest person wins, right? So I played Uno with some guys, younger guys and you could lose a hand.
I mean, they’re slapping their hands down quite quickly. It’s not violent, it’s not intended to be violent, but they’re putting their hands down so quickly that actually you can nearly lose a hand and then you’re trying to get there quick. And I was never very..
I kinda took a step by. I was never quick enough for them actually. I think they were far quicker than I playing Uno, so. Yeah, so I think there are maybe little bit dangerous games, maybe a couple. But generally not.
Generally not. I think on the whole it’s played safely and to good fate I think. The only one that I can think of that’s similar to yours, you get about five people to play, you have to lift your hand down and the next the next person, and the next on the top.
And then you have to remove the person in the bottom, remove his hand and put it on the top, and it can get very fast and aggressive.
Yeah, it sounds… With right people or wrong people it can get dangerous. So, you talked a little bit already about benefits. Well compared to other things a family could be doing together, what are the benefits of board games?
Well, as I said, just except the concentration, I think it’s also good for families to be together and it’s good past time on wet days and when you can’t go out I think. Better than…
Which occasionally happens in the UK, yeah.
Yeah, I think it’s more sociable like… I mean, families might tend to watch tv together, you know, especially if you’ve eaten the Christmas dinner or just in general. And I think if you’ve got board games it’s more sociable. So.. And you’ve got something that you don’t have to think too hard to talk about, you know.
You’re talking away about the game or you’re talking about other things, so. It allows you to be sociable and even allow you to break the ice.
Yes, yes. It is, it’s good. Such as scrabble, for example, very educational. The spelling in a sort of interesting way.
It tests your brain and knowledge as well. Hand to eye coordination. I mean, depend on the game but Jenga for example, it tests you, whether you have a steady hand.
So it might have some use in that way I don’t know. Are board games addictive though?
I think that it could be.
Yes, I think it could be. It could be like I suppose computer games might be addictive. Any game might be.
But board game, I mean, speaking of board games specifically, not computer games. Would they be addictive do you think for most people?
I don’t think so. I think unless you’re really obsessed about one particular game..
Like Monopoly. Or Risk maybe. I think it would be unusual. Maybe because there’s that little bit of thought needed to be put into it. And maybe because you need other people to play. I don’t know. It’s not quite as addictive. Maybe not the same gameplay.
No, I think it’s because of people being together. You’ve got to have the people there and you can’t play it all the time.
And then if you’re losing a lot you could be disappointed, you can… I guess you wouldn’t be too addicted if you’re losing all the time. Right. So, should board games be in libraries? Or in prisons? Places like that.
I don’t see why not. I know in some libraries in Britain they rent out or even take out games for children. I think it’s very useful because some of them are very expensive.
Can you play them in the library?
I don’t know, I think so. I think you can.
As long as you’re not too noisy or something. Maybe they have separate rooms.
Separate rooms, that would be a good idea. If they don’t have such a facility.
I think it would be worthwhile. I don’t think my local library has board games, but they have computers that you can use, but not with games necessarily. But they don’t have any board games. At least not that I know of. But I think it would be a good thing for social aspect.
People could go there and play some games. Well here in the park, in Central park here in Novosibirsk there’s a place, do you know it?
For chess, yes. And there’s like a little open house, it’s got a roof but it’s like an open…
Not a veranda, but some sort of a little hut without sides. You can just sit there. There’s a special word for it in Russian. I can’t remember what it is.
Can’t help you. I don’t know.
And that’s very useful. You talked about prisons – I think it’s good to have them in prisons, because it teaches cooperation I think.
Yeah, I mean, I don’t think it’s gonna solve all the problems, but maybe it could help with some people. And really they’re bored. But should prisoners be allowed board games? It could be too much fun.
I think I would allow it, I think I would allow it, as long as they’re not fighting over it.
Cause a lot of them are educational, aren’t they?
Yeah. And it could pass the time for them, so I don’t… Unless they’re misbehaving with them, I don’t think… trying to make weapons with them or something, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. What about airports? Airports are places where people wait a lot.
Well I think in Russian airports they do have places. I have seen in Moscow, in Domodedovo they have rooms where children can go and play games.
And I know in lots of restaurants in Novosibirsk they provide the children with games and colored paper while their parents are eating. And kids can go to a little room.
And entertain. I think it’s a very good idea.
I think it could be good. I mean I can imagine, even on the train, trains in Russia, I can imagine. Or maybe bring your own game if it’s not there. Especially for the train. And I think it would be a good way as I said breaking the ice.
And maybe you can meet someone and you can actually keep in touch with, especially with modern communication. So, could be good. Yeah, I was gonna ask what aspect. Social aspect especially.
I think so. And concentration as well, as children, as teacher, concentration.
Shows them to make fun without…
It can help them as well. Yeah, it could help I think in school because they have to focus and concentrate and maybe, if they enjoy playing a board game, they can be better learners at schools. Hopefully. Okay. A few more. What’s the hardest or the most time-consuming board game to play?
For me. Well if we’re talking about card games, I mean there’s bridge for example. It’s very complicated.
You have to learn the rules and learn the mind of your partner. It’s very tricky I think. Yes. I think Monopoly is quite difficult if you play it properly.
It takes a lot of time as well, doesn’t it?
It’s a commitment. I mean some games it’s more of games of chance, but with some games it’s more skills, isn’t it? Think of games of skills that no so much just throwing the dice.
I was gonna say chess because it’s not skill, but it’s very strategy. And if you’ve got a good opponent, then you really need to know your strategy, don’t you? And think ahead and try to think what he or she is thinking of.
Backgammon or something like that.
Yeah. So there could be… I wouldn’t say they’re the most fun games for like a Friday night, playing chess, but maybe for the right moment. Okay. Any tips? Now you’re a monopoly man, so do you have any tips that you want to reveal?
It’s a long time since I played actually, but I think it’s… You don’t have to take so many risks at the beginning, you have to build it up slowly your empire, not go out for a park or lane of hotels. Don’t spend all your money.
The most expensive ones, yeah?
Sometimes the cheap road are bringing more money.
Maybe get a lot of cheaper ones and then people follow on… And you can take their money, beat them away. Yeah, I guess. It’s been a while since I played it too, but I think yeah, I think I… You really have to know what you’re doing from the start, decide.
I think for Monopoly you should decide from the start whether you’re gonna go for a rule of yellow or you’re going all over the board or whether you’re gonna go for the more expensive or you’re going for property or houses. And you have to choose, don’t you? You get to choose a little house, or a big… A hotel, isn’t it?
No, I think you have to have 5 small houses before you can get a hotel. And then you can change it.
Yeah, something like that.
You have to… Tariff, a special tariff for each street. But you can’t, I don’t think you can…
And the more… If you got a street or property you can charge money, but you’ve got a hotel you can charge more.
So it’s good, but I think for Monopoly you really really have to have time for it.
It’s a long game, it’s a long for sure.
It’s a commitment. But yeah. I’ve gotta say my tip would just be to have , to think about your strategy before you start. And I mean, of course you might have to adapt it. Someone might take the property that you want or if it’s another game, they might take the square that you want or the country that you want if it’s Risk.
So you have to adapt, what do I do now, have a plan B for that. So, start strong and don’t make too many commitments to begin with. Is there a future for board games? So it seems to be okay at the moment in Russia, but in the world in general, do you think board games are losing popularity? Computer games are now the big thing.
Well, you might know more about this than I do, because you spend more time in the UK, or you will be spending more time, but I think in Britain they’re not so popular now. From what you see on the television.
Yeah you don’t see so many ads, I don’t watch tv as much as I used to, but you don’t see so many ads for board games. Maybe coming close to Christmas I guess. But even so, it used to be year round, wasn’t it? Board games I think.
That’s right. A friend of mine used to come play every week. Sometimes the game, Monopoly, would go on for about three weeks.
It was laying down on the table for three weeks and… my mother.
Yeah, I think there’s a risk, pardon the pun, the Risk game, but I think there’s a risk that could die away in some countries especially. But maybe with the right games, if there’s, you know, a game that comes out that’s good and interesting and popular, maybe it could get popular again. I think it can’t compete with computer games.
I think only the old games, the old games that have survived like chess and dominoes, Monopoly, they still seem to be quite popular. I think other ones come and go, don’t they. You don’t hear about them so much.
Yeah, I think so. Hungry Hippos, I remember the advertisement of that. You got these hungry hippos. It was what would you say, a toy, than a game really ,but you pushed. It was a game, but you pushed, each person had a hippo, there were four and so you had to push it.
It’s got a tail and its mouth opened and its head shot forward. And there were little like almost marbles, but plastic. And it suck, you had to eat as many of those.
And I remember it being on tv, and I think it’s probably not so popular now, which is… about that. Yeah, they are kind of losing interest I think in general.
I think they should encourage them in schools more or I think they could teach children.
Put down your iPod or iPad.
And then they’ll find that they’re interesting. It’s a start.
I think if you’ve got the right board game, then for sure. So what would you recommend for young people? If you’re talking about a board game for school or whatever.
Jenga? Jenga, yeah? You can connect questions to it. A teacher could use that in an ordinary public school.
Yes. And you can do it with different ages together. Because it’s just as much skill whatever ages are trying to get the bricks out.
Yeah, I would also recommend Jenga. So there you are. Maybe Jenga’s most versatile.
And it doesn’t take so long, I think 20-30 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes to do it, depending on how steady the people’s hands are. But yeah, it could be all over quite quickly, questions and stuff. So okay. So, talked quite a bit about board games.
So that, guys, was the craic… Or girls, pardon me, ladies, that was the craic about board games. So, we talked about are they boring? We think not. I think they don’t compete with computer games, but they’ve got their own market and their own interest to people.
They’ve got an appeal to them and we’ve talked about that. We’ve got some of our favorites would be risk and Monopoly. And you know, you can play them and increase your mental ability, you can be sociable.
They could be in public places and they could be beneficial at breaking the ice. And yeah, some of them are tough, some of them are hard and time-consuming, but stick with it. Have a good strategy. And don’t get too competitive, you might lose a hand. So that was the craic about board games.